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Kinect For Windows Releasing On February 1

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the press-any-key-or-flail-spastically-to-continue dept.

Input Devices 155

clinko writes "Microsoft has announced that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries, at a suggested retail price of US $249 ($149 for edu). Microsoft has chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows; they will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime. These will be available free to developers and end-users respectively."

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Why So expensive? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660910)

I can get a Xbox 360 with a Kinect for $200. So, why should I pay more for just the hardware? Wasn't the hardware just on sale for Christmas for like $99?

Re:Why So expensive? (5, Insightful)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38660998)

On the Xbox M$ gets a cut from every game sold (even if it was produced by a third party studio). On the PC, not so much.

This means, that M$ can afford to sell the hardware at a lower price point, and then getting the money back in game sales. On the PC, this business model does not work, therefore the hardware price increases.

Re:Why So expensive? (5, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661018)

Sensible.

But: OP says he can get xbox+Kinect at $199, or even as low as $99.

Summary states just Kinect $249.

So even if you're just after the kinekt it's cheaper to buy the combo, and you can put the xbox itself on ebay afterwards.

Unless the hardware is radically different (the software to use it would be available for free) and presumably better it just doesn't make sense.

Re:Why So expensive? (3, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661230)

No, that still makes sense. Microsoft would still get some revenue back from the games sold for the subsidised Xbox from the combo that was sold on eBay without the Kinnect, so still (presumably) ends up with a net profit.

Re:Why So expensive? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661378)

Well, obviously it would make sense for a business to sell you something unnecessarily expensively.

I think the point is that it doesn't make sense for the consumer. The xbox kinect can be used with a regular computer, so why get a "windows kinect" for more when you could get the cheaper one and use it with your pc computer?

Is this better hardware, perhaps with higher resolution? Or is there some hurdle put in the hardware and API for windows-kinect to prohibit us from using the cheaper xbox one with future windows kinect games?

Not that I care much, since I don't use windows, but if the hardware is better (and can be read on linux), I might prefer the more expensive one for playing around with.

Re:Why So expensive? (5, Informative)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661296)

The final version of the SDK will only work with Kinect for Windows hardware (meanwhile the Beta version license will be extended by 3 years and will continue to work with normal Kinect). Kinect for Windows will feature Near Mode as well.

If you want officially supported SDK you need Kinect for Windows. That's the deal.

Re:Why So expensive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661942)

The hardware is slightly different, in that the external power supply and Kinect -> USB conversion cable is not included in the Xbox + Kinect purchase, while it is included in the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360 purchase. This means that you wouldn't be able to do what you state, as the Kinect requires the additional cable to plug into a USB port.

I assume the alternative, buying the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360, won't be accepted by the official SDK's release driver. You could still use the open source void-your-warranty approach with unofficial SDKs however.

Re:Why So expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38663050)

True... but you can get that power cable for around $10 - $20 online.... so........

Re:Why So expensive? (3, Informative)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662182)

Actually, it is different. This SKU is able to focus on near objects, unlike the old one that was designed for living rooms.

Re:Why So expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662286)

This is different hardware. It allows sensing at closer range than the xbox version. I imagine it has also been updated to be more accurate (perhaps less noise in the depth image?, higher resolution?, etc.)

Re:Why So expensive? (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662880)

I'd like to know where OP thinks such a deal exists. MS sets the price and even the lowest-end Xbox (4gb) with the kinect is $299. Amazon had a deal where it was $279 plus $100 credit at Amazon (which is when we got ours) but that kind of thing is _rare_. CompUSA (who knew they even still existed?) had the package for $199 for about one day during the holiday, but it required in-store pickup.

Re:Why So expensive? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661224)

An honest, insightful, well-stated point, from someone who insists on calling Microsoft "M$"...

Quick, someone check the pigs for wings!

Re:Why So expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662392)

Quick, someone check the pigs for wings!

Well, I don't see any, but should I throw one off the barn just to be certain?

Re:Why So expensive? (2)

acid_andy (534219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661006)

I can get a Xbox 360 with a Kinect for $200. So, why should I pay more for just the hardware? Wasn't the hardware just on sale for Christmas for like $99?

Fun PC gaming always has to be more expensive otherwise why would anyone bother buying one of their stupid consoles? Oh, OK, all their friends have one, and they even call it a "computer" (Pedants: yes the consoles do compute but they're hardly as general purpose as PCs without some work). Sorry about the sarcasm but I'm sick of PC gaming (and by many young people even PCs) being sidelined and often limited to crappy console ports delivered late. Kinect for Windows is still kinda cool though. Maybe they'll drop the price at some point.

Hold your horses. (1)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662168)

Because, as the summary so graciously left our, the Kinect for Windows hardware is able to focus up to 50 centimeters, much closer than the previous model. This is a much better SKU for up-close projects that will be on desktops.

Re:Why So expensive? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662312)

$249 for a Kinect?

Even if this Kinect had an vibrating assplug.. people who will buy this for $249 are victims and fail at life.

Re:Why So expensive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662698)

$249 for a Kinect?

Even if this Kinect had an vibrating assplug.. people who will buy this for $249 are victims and fail at life.

I wish Slashdot would mod their comments section for trolls like Ars Technica does.

Re:Why So expensive? (2)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662588)

The hardware is different. I don't know if that justifies the price difference, but if it doesn't make it more expensive to build you would think they'd just incorporate the changes into the XBox version to save them money on manufacturing, but it doesn't sound like they will.

This all seems like a moot point since they extended the ability to use the XBox version on PCs by 3 years. What are you complaining about?

The higher price is aimed at developers who actually intend to sell their products. MS won't get a cut of that like they do XBox games, so they have to make it up on the front end. MS also gives really cheap versions of their software to students. You don't hear professional app developers complaining about paying full price though, right? Because they are going to make money off their work, unlike students doing homework. MS is basically doing the same thing here, offering a cheaper alternative to hobbyists and charging full price for professionals.

Unfortunately they did it in backwards order, so instead of grateful posts from poor hobbyists for getting a "cheaper" version, we get hateful posts from idiots about getting a "more expensive" version.

Expensive much? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660922)

What does the Kinect for Windows do that Kinect for Xbox doesn't? Why should I buy one of these for $249 when I can buy one for an Xbox for $149? (PS: I don't buy the licensing argument.)

Re:Expensive much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660966)

Agreed, what is the difference between the 2 other than the legalese?
Can't wait to see the first strip down to find they are identical

Re:Expensive much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660994)

What does the Kinect for Windows do that Kinect for Xbox doesn't? Why should I buy one of these for $249 when I can buy one for an Xbox for $149? (PS: I don't buy the licensing argument.)

From the article:

The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.

Re:Expensive much? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661038)

-edit- surely enough, such subsidized sales are illegal in a lot of countries, including holland. But in practice it's seen all over, like inkjet printers etc. and everyone seems to accept this kind of trading.

Re:Expensive much? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661448)

Where are such sales illegal, and why?

Re:Expensive much? (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661488)

Because yerup is a nanny state full of commernist's.

Re:Expensive much? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662510)

I'm not sure this is the case. Products subsidised by the government are often illegal under certain trade agreements (especially in Europe), but I've never heard of a law saying a company can't subsidise their own product - why would a law stop a company giving money away? This has been standard practice in some industries for decades [wikipedia.org] , the only issue is where it leads to anti-competitive practices.

Now how does this change the hardware? (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38660926)

If it's bumped up $100 over the older Kinect, are they actively going to make sure the console version is crippled?

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660978)

The console version is crippled by the limited bandwidth of USB2 as interface...

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

ZigZagJoe (1724868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661028)

Don't see anything about it being USB3.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661762)

It's restricted by the Xbox 360's dodgy USB controller, not by the available bandwidth. And reportedly that's something that will be addressed in software.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (5, Interesting)

Kwirl (877607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661012)

Or you could, you know, read the article. The directly address why the windows version costs $100 more than the Xbox version, and after reading the entire article, I think it is both justified and reasonable. While I have little expectation that you are going to read this reply, given that I use words, like the article, I am going to summarize the important parts with regards to your statement.

The Kinect for Xbox was subsidized by Live subscriptions and game sales, with the PC version they are going to focus on the hardware and allow people to innovate with their hardware for free. Instead of paying for licenses to develop or for support, etc - you pay the entire cost at purchase, and you will get support for the product without expense.

While you can complain and gripe about the extra hundred dollars, I would implore you to maybe stop and think about what you are getting for the price. Why don't we ask around and see how much other companies are charging for a single device that includes video and audio functionality as well as speech to text translation and motion capture. At $250 this device is a steal. Yeah, times are tough, money isn't raining from the skies, but with all the iMorons blowing through apple products like a new york heroin addict in the hills of Afghanistan, well, skip an update on your phone one month.

I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse. They could price this at 500 dollars and I'd put down money that every retailer would blow through their inventory. At 250 dollars, not only will they put one on every computer inside of 2 and a half years, but they are laying down a foundation for young engineers, scientists, hackers and hobbyists to create a community with vast potential.

While this site often condemns the 'greed' of corporations such as MS, Sony, Google, etc - I think this is a case where I feel proud to have put my money towards innovation.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661030)

I tried reading the article sorry press release. Which is mostly marketing speak, lots of talk about how great and innovative it is (and I don't take their word for it as it's a press release) and got barely halfway.

Then I checked out Wikipedia to get an idea of what it really is.

Any somewhat independent review of this one would be appreciated. From the looks of it, it sounds like a very interesting device indeed. Now if only Microsoft would put more of that innovative power in their other products... but well maybe this really is the only division in the company that has vision and creativity.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

Kwirl (877607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661576)

go look around on google - yes, the article had marketing buzzwords, its how business works, but beyond that - over the last year so many amazing things have come from the kinect - the hacking/modding community was come up with some very innovative ways to use it and the science schools have already done magic with this thing - didn't MIT use a kinect hack to do a real time holographic projection chat? it was crude, but it was a beginning

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661102)

The Kinect for Xbox was subsidized by Live subscriptions and game sales

If only Microsoft could get a foothold on these PC things maybe they could make some money there.

FYI: the Kinect costs are estimated around $20. Subsidizing? Not really. Gorging? Yes.

I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse.

Well, you're wrong. Very very wrong. This is the tail end of the Wii fad, and I can guarantee you it won't be around in 3 years.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (0, Offtopic)

Socialism is win! (1982128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661358)

Once the revolution is prosecuted, Microsoft's pricing shall be determined by The People's Committee For Fair And Reasonable Pricing Not To Exceed $0.50

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662572)

FYI: the Kinect costs are estimated around $20. Subsidizing? Not really. Gorging? Yes.

Do you have a source for that? The teardowns I read suggested lowest cost estimates were $50~ish just for the components, that's not including software (i.e. any licensing costs), hardware assembly, packaging, shipping, the retailer's cut, etc. It would surprise me if MS were losing money on Kinect sales but I don't think they're pocketing vast sums either.

Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (-1, Troll)

BeardedGNUFreak (2443866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661116)

"I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse. They could price this at 500 dollars and I'd put down money that every retailer would blow through their inventory. At 250 dollars, not only will they put one on every computer inside of 2 and a half years, but they are laying down a foundation for young engineers, scientists, hackers and hobbyists to create a community with vast potential."

LOL, did you actually just use the word 'innovation'???

Kinect is a piece of junk clone of old webcam/Sony EyeToy style tech that has been around for many years made by a company that couldn't get Apple or Nintendo to buy their crap. Only Microsoft in their desperation was dumb enough to buy the piece of shit.

Microsoft has spent 500 million dollars desperately hyping this piece of shit by paying anyone they could find to 'hack' this junk add-on and blog about it.

The Kinect tech is so bad that both E3s Microsoft demoed the junk tech they were immediately caught by the gaming press for doing such a hilariously bad job at faking their 'amazing' demos.

Kinect is the most hated add-on in the history of gaming. You can't even mention the device without gamers trashing it.

http://n4g.com/news/916067/i-regret-buying-kinect [n4g.com]

Xbox 360 owners were desperate to buy anything for their last place console with Microsoft having closed down all but a tiny number of first party studios leaving the console with almost no exclusive games.

Re:Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661162)

Kinect is the most hated add-on in the history of gaming.

I take it someone never had a power glove.

You can't even mention the device without gamers trashing it.

You can't mention MacOS or Windows without enthusiasts in the computer field trashing it in favor of Linux.

Does this mean they're bad? Not really. It just means people who are essentially gaming hipsters don't like it.

You dislike the Kinect. "Gamers" apparently dislike the kinect. It honestly doesn't matter. "Hardcore gamers" hated on the Wii and it's still hemorrhaging money among the larger, non-hardcore audience.

The Kinect may not be the greatest for pumping out maximum gaming performance, but it's still a hell of a peripheral for non-gaming purposes.

Re:Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661476)

Obviously, someone named "BeardedGNUFreak" has his finger on the pulse of innovation. After all, GNU is the most innovative organization on the planet, founded with the sole aim of copying the work of others so as to give it away...

Re:Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (2)

Kwirl (877607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661602)

not to feed the troll, but you apparently haven't bothered opening your windows and looking outside :) congratulations on finding someone who agrees with you on the internet, btw :) to think you found an article where someone trashes something you dislike, and you wave it up in the air like a victory flag.

According to the Guinness book of world records, more people like the kinect than hate it, but in your defense, they were probably too busy having fun to spend any time online responding to flamebait. I'm out, flap your armfat once in a while buddy, use your anger for something healthy.

Re:Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (2, Funny)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662612)

No, clearly you don't understand. MS is paying for all the positive reviews. And all the users who claim to like the product, they're all being paid as well. The 900+ reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.5/5? All bought and paid for. And every negative review is 100% genuine, not sour grapes and definitely not paid for by competitors. Now, give GP back his shiny tinfoil hat and let's... slowly... back... away...

Re:Kinect - Gathering In Junk Closets Everwhere (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662722)

LOL. I think you are talking about the PS3, not 360. Lets see:

Piece of junk webcam....check
Last place console...check
Bad tech...check
Gamers trashing it ....I forget, which was is laughed and compared to looking like a sex toy...oh yeah....check

Yep, I think it's clear you got your 360 and PS3 mixed up.

It's amazing that you can even begin to think the move is better tech than a kinect. The kinect isn't just a camera. It projects and IR grid into the room, and then uses stereo cameras to detect the projection depth of the grid. With this it can actually build an accurate depth map of the room and identify complete 3 dimensional object. It can then use this to accurately reconstruct skeletal structure of players.

Compare this to the Move. I actually find that hardware hillarious. They basically took system hardware that was many times more powerful than the Wii, had the advantage of learning from the Wii's mistakes, and had several years of R&D advantage over the Wii. And what did they come up with? A system that's barely more capable than the Wii, with contollers that look stupid. Compared to Move, the Kinect hardware is brilliant and elegant.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (2)

Mister Pedant (1722084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661212)

"Or you could, you know, read the article. The directly address why the windows version costs $100 more than the Xbox version, and after reading the entire article, I think it is both justified and reasonable. While I have little expectation that you are going to read this reply, given that I use words, like the article, I am going to summarize the important parts with regards to your statement."

I have read your reply and I note that you have indeed used words. Might have been a good idea if you had read your own reply.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661368)

It's probably not worth your time. The people complaining will be the PC gaming zealots that hate this device because it originated from the console.

The same people who will gladly blow the best part of $1000 on the latest and greatest graphics card at release.

As you say, what you get for your money, particularly relative to the cost of many other PC gaming components, this is a steal regardless.

Really, this was one of the most impressive things about Kinect from the outset, not that the technology itself was pretty impressive, but that Microsoft had managed to do such impressive tech cheaply, when previously such technology would've cost over 4x as much to put together yourself.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

bmwEnthusiast (1384289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662904)

PC Gaming Zealots only surface when console fan boys can't admit technological inferiority. Who cares we buy nice graphics cards on launch. These help with frames and gameplay. No effort to show us how a $250 kinect will improve our desktop gameplay has been made. Atleast I can get benchmarks on my new GeForce 4977hundred ex ct overclocked new edition. :)

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661430)

>Or you could, you know, read the article.

I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave.

If I'm going to use it in an unofficial capacity, such as 3d-modelling on Linux or put it on a robot whose brain runs Linux, then I should stick it to the MS and get the subsidised X-box one?

Buy from the competitors (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661566)

No because if you don't buy one, they lose the full price of the cost of manufacturing and distributing. If you buy one, even if they are selling at a loss, they get some of that back. You can 'stick it to them' by buying their competition's products.

Re:Buy from the competitors (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661730)

You missed "If I'm going to use it in an unofficial capacity". If it's a prerequisite that he is going to get a Kinect, then he should get the subsidised one.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661834)

I think that if you really want to "stick it to the MS"(joke?) you shouldn't buy it at all. I don't follow why people would want to stick it too them in this instance anyway. I haven't read the article but there's more to the unit than the cost of the hardware, there's software and research and QA etc. I haven't given much thought to wheather or not I agree with their pricing, other than it does seem high, however if they wanted to cut the desktop market out they wouldn't do that via pricing, they simply would not release a desktop version of the kinect at all.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662216)

As long as you don't want your Kinect to be able to focus at 50cm, I guess. You'll need an external power supply for the Kinect, though

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661524)

> I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse. They could price this at 500 dollars and I'd put down money that every retailer would blow through their inventory. At 250 dollars, not only will they put one on every computer inside of 2 and a half years, but they are laying down a foundation for young engineers, scientists, hackers and hobbyists to create a community with vast potential.

So you're one of those people, eh?

Very well. Go ahead and hold your arms up to your monitor. Point at something on the screen with both your hands. Great, now hold that position for 5 minutes.

Now you know why nobody cares about this sort of tech for any sort of reasonable work. Keyboards and mice work because it requires very little energy to remain idle or do the most simplest of tasks (move your cursor over to press a button, etc). The Kinect has you moving your entire arm and hand. Try doing that all day long.

Kinect is a passing novelty. Kinect on the computer is even more so. Nobody will care about this in 3 months. Minority Report computing was never practical, it just looked good on the silver screen.

-AC

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

flirno (945854) | more than 2 years ago | (#38663048)

Yeah I'd prefer the mouse. Anyone who is out of shape or older is going to prefer the mouse. Anyone doing time consuming work on a computer is going to use the mouse. It just seems very non-ergonomic as an interface for use when sitting down at a computer. Now if you were using the computer hooked up to a 60 inch screen sure. But a computer with a small monitor on a desk? No way.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662274)

This technology is not new. I used to setup CCTV security cameras for small businesses, and we had motion tracking PTZ cameras back in 2008. Some of the newest security camera software like GeoVision have many features to track and recognize faces and objects.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662338)

I see it as all good to sell the "hardware" which is costly to produce and requires a large infrastructure investment, and give away the software, which once development is done, is essentially free to reproduce (very low cost anyways). It is certainly a refreshing departure from Microsoft's traditional view that hardware should be free and software what people pay for... from a production point of view it is completely ridiculous. The ease of software reproduction makes it a concept difficult to enforce. It makes more sense to pay more for hardware, which anyways is expensive to produce so that "pirates" will not bother with the investment.

I think this is a good direction for Microsoft to take. I for one want to encourage it. I'd rather pay more for hardware, than pay for the software.

Re:Now how does this change the hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661026)

It has a shorter USB cable and firmware that supports "near" depth tracking from as close as 50cm
The only other change in hardware is ms support and of course the extra $100 price tag

Lawsuit Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38660954)

Pronounced "Connect Four - Windows"
Is that really the name M$ want?
Are they calling Milton Bradley out?
Do they really want a fight with a childhood legend?

Mr Thanh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661036)

Bai viêt rât tuyêt. Cho minh t link vi nhe http://aodongphuclop.biz/

You don't want it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661040)

....Microsoft shattered the existing controller paradigm by inventing a new natural user interface system that enables advanced human tracking, gesture recognition, voice control and more.

Wait, just wait till you flip off your computer and yell at it. Then you tell me this is a good idea!

I preferred it when my computer was oblivious to my gestures and voice.

How long until someone breaks the lock on old hw? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661058)

Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.

If there is any major crippling, here would be the major part of it.

Interesting, but useless (3, Interesting)

KazW (1136177) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661098)

The Kinect has a user base of 18 million units world wide, let's assume only half of those are USB units, that's 9 million units. Instead of Microsoft allowing home users to use their XBox Kinect with Windows Metro apps, home users will be forced to buy a new Kinect to use it with Windows apps (commercial apps anyways, they can use apps made with the beta SDK).

With this move Microsoft has reduced the PC user base of Kinect to 0, eliminating a huge audience for developers. The reason given was that the XBox Kinect was subsidized by game sales, but if using that defence, why not just subsidize this Kinect through the new app store Windows 8 will have? This would let home users use their existing Kinect and keep Microsoft's bottom line doing well in the long term. This is just a very dumb move overall.

Foreword to pro-M$ trolls, I did RTFA and I know about the "near" feature of this new Kinect, but it still doesn't justify this move.

Re:Interesting, but useless (2)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661168)

Good point, I hadn't thought of that, but you're right -- why did they just cut out 9 million potential users? I thought they were still trying to grab gaming market share at any cost, but I guess that only applies to the console space (because they really want to be in your living room).

There's one person here so far trying to say that even at $250 it's good value, but they aren't convincing. Waving your arms at your PC is not the future, especially when you have $25 of components wrapped up in a $250 package.

Re:Interesting, but useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662560)

Do you people have zero imagination? Consider the robot applications. Sensors to do SLAM are way more expensive than this, pushing $1K. You won't be gesturing to your PC, you'll be gesturing to your vacuum.

Re:Interesting, but useless (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661426)

"let's assume only half of those are USB units"

I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you're thinking about the "Kinect" port on the new Xboxes, it's truncated so that normal USB devices won't fit, but the corresponding Kinect plug will fit into a normal USB port.

Re:Interesting, but useless (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662952)

locking it to Metro only may be anti trust.

Also other laws may make so you can buy this and write code for any API and sell the app. I think thing the courts will let MS say you can only use this high end web cam that you buy with apps only from our store what are going to sue any only who try to put Kinect code in there own apps?

What's it for? (1)

The Leather Duke (258767) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661130)

I mean, really? What would you use a kinect for sitting at your desk in front of your computer screen? Waving your arms in the air? Oh, wait...

Re:What's it for? (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661442)

Waving my arms in the air? I just don't care...

Bounty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661144)

Time for another bounty!

Kinect "Gesture" idea (4, Funny)

KazW (1136177) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661152)

If a user shakes their fist rock-paper-scissors style at their screen, it opens the browser to their favourite porn site in private mode.

Re:Kinect "Gesture" idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662296)

What about: Giving your computer the middle finger causes it to shut down. :-)

On a more serious note: What about thumb-up for yes, thumb-down for no, and waving aside for cancel.

Re:Kinect "Gesture" idea (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662538)

Great idea until your roomie comes up to you while you're at your computer and says, "Shoot you for the last beer in the fridge! Best of three!"

The few things I like about Microsoft (-1, Troll)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661164)

The few things I like about Microsoft include:

Excel
Kinect

Other than that, Linux is the way to go. Moreover, the advent of LibreOffice has made Kinect the only relevant product sold by Microsoft. Isn't it about time they skip all their other products and focus on Kinect, only?

Re:The few things I like about Microsoft (1, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661450)

Moreover, the advent of LibreOffice has made Kinect the only relevant product sold by Microsoft. Isn't it about time they skip all their other products and focus on Kinect, only?

Yes, because everyone is exactly like you. While all children got that self-esteem building in elementary school, it turns out it was all a lie, except for you. You are the one true, special snowflake in the world.

Re:The few things I like about Microsoft (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662230)

Because Linux SUCKS.
Every year I hear "This is the year of Linux on the desktop" and every year it still sucks.
Just because your a linux fanboy doesn't mean MS should build its build its business around what you and the rest of your ilk want.
Whats OS is the most used on desktops?
Windows.
If I were to create something should I do so for the majority of people or just for a small minority of whiny bitchy little linux fanboys......
I think Ill go with what would allow me to make the most money. I know it sounds greedy to want to be able to pay my employee's and all, but thats how companies work.

PS Maybe you can explain something to me....
Linux Fanboys always claim that Linux is.....
More powerful.
Easier to learn.
Easier to use.
And its free!!!
If all of the above is true then why is it that Linux is not on most if not all desktops??
Dont bother replying that its all about advertising, as Linux has been around long enough now and has had article after article about it written that most people know it is there.
Maybe its because....
Its not more powerful ( Power for a computer to me means what it can do. More programs means more power. Less programs mean less power.)
Its not easier to learn.
Its not easier to use.
And free isn't a good selling point if all you get what you paid for.

Re:The few things I like about Microsoft (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662804)

Why do you think Linux is bad?

Can you name one thing, which is not dependent on DirectX, like games? Games have been locked in because of DirectX, as was the intention of Microsoft.

Give one reason why Linux is bad, without being a naïve Ballmer xxxx-sucking fanboi ;)

Re:The few things I like about Microsoft (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38663066)

Sorry, I missed that you actually had some arguments.

>Its not more powerful ( Power for a computer to me means what it can do. More programs means more power. Less programs mean less power.)

It IS more powerful as in More programs, except games

>Its not easier to learn.

It is AS easy.

>Its not easier to use.

It is AS easy

>And free isn't a good selling point if all you get what you paid for.

It IS free, but not free as in Pirate Bay

For what purpose? (1)

XrayJunkie (2437814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661248)

Hmm, why do we need a Kinect for Window? To use gestures on a PC? For education and doing cool stuff (automated rigging, 3D scans and so on) people already using the available hardware to achive their goals. Do we need the PC version to work with windows and their tools more efficiently? Or for PC games (PC games = games in front of a pc, high likely in a comfortable chair) ? I am just a bit confused about the why. Please enlighten me.

Re:For what purpose? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661288)

Kinect is Microsoft's one and only hit in recent years. Hackers the world over are writing their own drivers for it. By making it available for windows they encourage developers to write UI software for hardware which MSFT would dearly like to sell.

Re:For what purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661344)

There's a lot of viable, practical uses for something like the Kinect - such as surgeons needing to use a computer with bloodied hands. If they don't have to touch equipment, there's no risk of contamination.

Re:For what purpose? (0)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661458)

There's a lot of viable, practical uses for something like the Kinect - such as surgeons needing to use a computer with bloodied hands. If they don't have to touch equipment, there's no risk of contamination.

That's funny, I heard in some third world countries, surgeons wash their hands! Can you believe the barbarity?

Re:For what purpose? (1)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662250)

I'm sure that potable water is available in each one of those countries. I think you're missing the point, though: the devs are interested, it's a cheap 3D modeler and tracking unit You only have to look at innovations like that man who made the 3D Kinect video chat system, or that electronic skateboard that uses it to control.

Re:For what purpose? (3, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661468)

My experience of the Kinect? It's a very clever piece of hardware and very attractively priced - even in its PC incarnation. There's no end of things that can be done with it. I do suspect that this is what replaces the TV remote control. The only thing we know for sure that it's rubbish at is controlling video games.

Outside of exercise software (where it's good, once you accept its limitations) it makes for a horrible game controller. Despite the craze for alternative control schemes during the current console generation, I don't think anything will be displacing the twinstick controller and the mouse/keyboard combination as the dominant game input methods any time soon.

Re:For what purpose? (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661734)

Realtime true 3D video (moving PoV to any point in space) is the absolute best use I've seen for Kinect. For those who've not seen it, clicky [youtube.com]

Screw Stereographic effects; I want to pan and see that Na'vi's ass! *Ahem*

Re:For what purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38663006)

I want to see the connect, not as a gaming alternate input device - but as a device for those that are disabled and cannot use traditional inputs. I've put a lot of time into helping some friends with ALS and other degenerative disorders ... if they could control their TV/Computer through a gestation rather than the keyboard/mouse/remote controller/etc. without the tedium of todays hardware solutions - it could dramatically increase their quality of life.

Meanwhile the oompa loompas are suiciding (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661314)

Mass Suicide Threats at Foxconn Xbox 360 Plant

http://cryptogon.com/?p=26902 [cryptogon.com]

January 11th, 2012

"Foxconn has a plan to deal with these pesky meatsacks, and I donâ(TM)t mean suicide prevention nets.

Foxconn Wants to Build âoeIntelligent Robotics Kingdomâ to Replace Human Workers with Robots

Foxconn: 1 Million Robots in 3 Years

Via: Kotaku:

On Jan. 2, over 300 employees at a Foxconn plant in Wuhan, China threatened to throw themselves off a building in a mass suicide. Foxconn makes Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony products. These workers manufacture Xbox 360s.

According to Chinese anti-government website China Jasmine Revolution (via Watch China Times), the workers were protesting denied compensation they were promised.

On Jan. 2, the workers asked for a raise. Foxconn told them they could either keep their jobs with no pay increase or quit and get compensation. Most decided to quit with compensation. However, the agreement was supposedly terminated, and the workers never received their payments.

Website Record China reported that the uproar the incident actually caused Xbox 360 production to be temporarily suspended.

The mayor of Wuhan intervened to talk the group down, and on Jan. 3 at 9pm, the group of 300 decided not to jump, ending what could have been a deadly game of chicken."

- http://kotaku.com/5874706/report-mass-suicide-threats-at-xbox-360-plant [kotaku.com]
- http://cryptogon.com/?p=23829 [cryptogon.com]
- http://cryptogon.com/?p=25875 [cryptogon.com]
- http://cryptogon.com/?p=17613 [cryptogon.com]

Microsoft, where's your TV commercial for THIS?

Why for Windows? (2)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661332)

Why Kinect for Windows? Why not Kinect for PC? If, as the summary says, Microsoft has chosen a hardware-only business model, then there's no reason they should tie it to a single OS.

Re:Why for Windows? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661494)

There's nothing stopping you using it on any other OS, however there is no SDK for those platforms, and therefore no expectation of compatibility. Hence, "Kinect for Windows".

really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661542)

WRGAF?

Can't wait to give M$ all my money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38661720)

Wow, just think about this gadget, if it could be used on Failbook and to give GW Bush a blowjob and me a foot massage at the same time... oh boy!

Where do I sign up?

Also, /. obviously needs more slashvertisements on all things microsoftey and windozey, keep them coming...

Xtion (1)

pecila (1647383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661764)

Asus made similar product http://us.estore.asus.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=4001 [asus.com] in cooperation with PrimeSense (the makers of the 3D sensing chip inside Kinect).
At the time of release, the price of Asus Xtion ($300) was much higher then the price of Kinect.
The new pricing tag on Kinect hints that its real price was much lower than it should be - most certainly due to Microsoft's pricing strategy in Xbox vs PS3 battle.

Have you heard of eviacam ? (0)

cheap.computer (1036494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661780)

http://goo.gl/4Uaoq [goo.gl] Lets you use the webcam to control mouse & click... Goes to prove you don't really need $400 worth of hardware to detect motion and respond to it...

Re:Have you heard of eviacam ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662020)

Well, that's not really what a Kinect is.

Basically, you are comparing a web camera to a combination of: web camera, infrared based depth sensor with a CMOS camera, and a multi-array microphone. That's a whole lot more data than your average webcam provides. Especially the depth sensor really makes a significant difference; the distinguishing ability to determine points in 3D space has spawned a number of rather interesting possibilities. Heck, I even saw some guy on youtube use his Kinect to create 3D maps of his environment (along with textures). Try achieving that with eviacam.

Now, we could also throw in all the software features from eviacam and pit them against Kinect's abilities to detect human beings, their joints, and track their every movement in 3D space.

Mind you, I am not really a big fan of Kinect either (I don't even own one, never have), but you are basically not really making a fair comparison there.

Space (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661798)

I have a Kinect, but I never use the motion sensing aspect since my living room is just slightly too small. For it to see my whole body, I have to to stand as far back as I can. I don't think my room is all that small by British standards (millions of people live in Victorian semis like mine).

I find myself wishing there was a wide angle lens addon (would that work?)

People's desktop PCs tend to be in studies that are smaller than the rooms where they keep their PCs. And people tend to sit in front of PCs. I think developers are going to need to start concentrating on developing software that deals with less of the body.

I find the voice recognition stuff pretty handy. "Xbox, play DVD" is easier than searching for the remote.

Re:Space (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662546)

Not being funny but surely you already had to have turned on the Xbox and inserted the DVD and pushed it back into the drive in order for things like "Play DVD" to work? That would involve either physical contact or a remote control of some kind first, no?

In which case, wouldn't a play button on the front have actually been infinitely more useful? Fair enough, for navigation, and other uses but "Play DVD" seems to be the voice-recognition equivalent of "Eject Disc". Really useful, but you're going to need to go to where a button would ordinarily be anyway to get the damn disc out.

Asus Xtion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38662138)

http://us.estore.asus.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=3397

Well, so much for that... (0)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662334)

I have once again overestimated Microsoft... I didn't think they'd find a way to screw this up.

But $250?? Are you fucking cracked? I bought one for $150 LAST YEAR. So, basically, KNOWING that most of the people who want a Kinect for their computer already bought Xbox ones, they've decided not only to sell a SPECIAL one for computers, but to almost DOUBLE the price?

Re:Well, so much for that... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662912)

You didn't read the article, did you?

No, I know you didn't.

Mineconnect (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662514)

Can't wait to see the Minecraft plugin! I'll be spending hours swinging my arm in a hacking motion! Though, my neighbors might think I'm a sadistic axe murderer.

Gimmicky useless controls now available for PC! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38662592)

No thanks, I'll stick to the keyboard + mouse or gamepad. I've already spent my novelty minutes for silly motion-controlled games on some early Wii games, and I spent my novelty minutes for Minority Report-style desktop controls back when the P5 glove came out. It makes your arms tired.

Near mode? (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38663098)

One of the claimed improvements is near mode, HOWEVER the hardware within the 360 Kinect also has a 50cm minimum distance limit. I can't help but suspect that people are going to do side-by-side tear downs only to find theres little change apart from the SKU number in the firmware.

The annoying thing is....a good near mode (20cm) would be a godsend for certain kinds of research since that class of hardware still comes in at a few thousand $. Have a look at Omnitouch (Harrison et al, 2011) for some examples of what is possible.

I'll be looking at interest at this when released - just not getting my hopes up.

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